The mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, says the city’s health care system has been “maxed out” as cases of coronavirus have more than doubled in May—a sharp contrast to the slowing coronavirus spread that’s taken place across much of the U.S.—while city businesses were allowed to reopen May 11, even as it appeared that Alabama hadn’t hit White House reopening guidelines.
Major hospitals in the Montgomery area have run out of ICU beds, Mayor Steven Reed said at a news conference Wednesday, while others only one or two beds left.
Patients in need of care are now instead being sent 90 miles away to Birmingham, Alabama, the mayor said, a step the city hasn’t had to take until now.
Over 470 people have tested positive in Montgomery over the past two weeks, the Alabama Political Reporter notes, while the city only had a cumulative total of 355 cases going into May.
With cases quickly rising, the city was placed on an unreleased White House hotspot watch list on May 7, according to NBC News, which obtained a copy of the report.
But despite the rapid spread, businesses in the city were allowed to reopen starting May 11, after Governor Kay Ivey officially moved Alabama into Phase 1 of its reopening.
As of now, Montgomery is not expected to run out of ventilators, a city health official said at Wednesday’s news conference.